Glasgow & West Scotland

Paige Doherty killer John Leathem appeals against sentence

Paige Doherty Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Paige Doherty was murdered at Leathem's delicatessen in Clydebank

A shop owner who murdered schoolgirl Paige Doherty in a frenzied knife attack has asked for his sentence to be reduced.

John Leathem, 32, stabbed the teenager 61 times after she stopped at his delicatessen in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, in March.

He was jailed for life after admitting the murder and ordered to spend at least 27 years in jail.

His lawyers told appeal court judges the minimum term was "excessive".

Advocate Ian Duguid QC told the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh that the sentencing judge, Lady Rae, should have followed the example of judges in similar cases and imposed a lesser sentence.

He said: "This appeal focuses on a point of law. To put it simply the punishment part of the sentence is excessive."

The court will issue its decision in a written judgement at a later date.

Leathem claimed at the time of his conviction that he had panicked after the schoolgirl threatened to report him for sexual assault when he did not give her a job.

His attack left his victim with more than 140 injuries.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption John Leathem was told he would spend at least 27 years in jail

He then cleaned up the crime scene at his Delicious Deli shop and dumped the 15-year-old's body in bushes near Great Western Road two days later.

Paige's mother Pamela Munro and the family have been campaigning against any reduction in Leathem's sentence since they became aware of his appeal plans.

A petition opposing any reduction in his jail term has been signed by about 11,000 people.

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Media captionSentencing judge Lady Rae told John Leathem that there did not seem to be any motive for Paige's murder

Ms Munro, who has three other children, recently told the Sunday Mail: "Even if he got out at 59, he'd still have a life, so 27 years isn't long enough. He's totally deluded. This appeal is cruel.

"With the appeal being on 23 December, there is no way that our first Christmas without Paige can be a normal one - as much as we might try to make it that way for the kids."

Ms Munro also described how first offender Leathem appeared emotionless when she went to his shop while her daughter was missing nine months ago to talk to him about putting up posters to help to find Paige.

"Looking back, he was so cold," she said.

The sentencing judge, Lady Rae, described the killing as a "savage and frenzied attack" that was difficult to comprehend.

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